Summit of Mayors on Roma : “Building mutual trust at the grassroots” – 22 September 2011, France

    WORKSHOP II: Fighting prejudice, managing diversity

    Presentation by Ramiza SAKIP, Forum of European Roma young people (FERYP)

    What can the cities do to prevent and fight against the increasing manifestations of racism and hatred against Roma?

    Coming from Republic of Macedonia where we have the only Roma municipality with Roma Mayor in Skopje the capital city I would like to address to the other national governments that this example should be a example and good practice in their countries too where Roma are living .Only with participation of Roma in the local councils and their participation in the decision making bodies the things can be changed otherwise the things can get worse.Ensuring that Roma people and are considered a full part of society and of the communities in which they live and to reduce the levels of poverty, exclusion and discrimination affecting them.

    Improving the living conditions of Roma people from disadvantaged neighborhoods, by securing accessible and affordable public services in the fields of: education and training, Employment ,Housing and Health ;

    Breaking down segregation affecting Roma neighborhoods and isolated communities, while promoting integration;

    Recognizing and supporting the role of the Roma civil society in preventing discrimination, social exclusion and marginalization of Roma people and promoting their citizenship notably through different local activities in partnership with the regional and local authorities;

    Decreasing the prejudice and stereotypes about the Roma people in the local medias with positive media coverage on Roma as a instrument in raising awareness about the cultural diversity;

    What steps (or measures/actions) can cities take to promote and support the active participation of Roma in the different spheres and levels of public life of the city, including in decision-making and the wider democratic process?

     

    Referring on the recommendations from the Forum of European Roma Young People – FERYP

    Local and regional authorities should:

    In municipalities and regions with compact Romani populations, prioritise in their work plans the Roma issues;

    Monitor the situation and research the needs of Roma people, ensuring their effective involvement in these processes;

    To prepare and develop from start to end adequate Roma local policies together and in conjunction with the Roma civil society;

    Encourage the development and implementation of pilot programmes, projects and initiatives aimed at enhancing active participation of Roma;

    Plan and provide adequate financial support for activities. Other requested resources should be provided additionally. Particular attention should be devoted and information on the funding possibilities circulated to less prominent Romani groups who would not usually access such information and/or funding;

    Provide facilities for establishment of Romani Youth Centres and other Youth structures, where the young Roma can propose, run and take part in various initiatives and activities. Furthermore, ensure capacity building activities for young Roma to enable them to run these structures effectively themselves and thus helping to further community development by giving them ownership on these initiatives;

    In order to increase the participation of Roma people in decision-making processes related to the Romani community issues and general youth issues, local authorities should provide for participation of Roma in municipal and regional councils. Moreover advisory Romani bodies should be established at municipal and regional level;

    Draw best practices from policy areas and from municipalities or regions where this already exists;

    Monitor the situation of Roma in relation to their access to social and human rights . Implement programmes ensuring their access to the above;

    Develop and implement or support programmes and activities stimulating and providing for interaction between young Romani and young non-Romani as well as for intercultural learning;

    Support the implementation of information campaigns – on human rights issues as well as on opportunities for personal and professional realisation for young Roma;

    Special emphasis and efforts should be devoted to developing and implementing vocational training programmes with Roma and ensuring employment opportunities at local level;

    Ensure training and employment of youth workers, which can be active within the Romani communities and at local level;

    Initiate co-operation between local and regional authorities, the Romani Youth organisations and the Roma community in general;

    Employ Roma people and Romani Youth representatives in the local and regional authorities and relevant administrative structures at local level. Make financial resources available for paid positions not just voluntary work for any such pilot programmes. In cases where the above is not possible – provide internships and academic opportunities for free;

    How can cities support mutual knowledge and understanding, and appreciation of Roma culture as an integral component of the wider cultural diversity of the city?

    Promotion of the Roma heritage and culture as means of facilitating wider social understanding of Roma communities to combat discrimination and to appreciate Roma communities as members of society ;

    Cultural activities should be considered as a means of promoting integration and understanding. Partnerships could be encouraged with local cultural groups as to include Roma people;(festivals , street activities related with cultural diversity);

    Developing a projects aimed at the promotion of the Roma history and culture in the schools and universities;



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